Recent Cases Show the Creative Ways Alleged Criminals Target Health Clubs

Every day I come across at least one story about a locker room theft or a vehicle break in at a health club.

Two recent cases show the creative lengths some alleged criminals are going to in targeting fitness centers.

Let's start with the so-called "Planet Fitness Bandit" in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  The bandit, Reyanon Duncan, allegedly targeted Planet Fitness clubs in the area by signing up for memberships under other names. Duncan allegedly broke into lockers and stole car keys once she gained access to the club.

Duncan was arrested in late February when Albuquerque police spotted her near a Planet Fitness. When a detective confronted Duncan, her accomplice showed up in a car and pointed a gun at the detective, according to a KOAT report. The detective made a quick decision to use Duncan as a human shield, the accomplice drove off and Duncan was arrested.

"I'm sure that the detective in a split-second decided, 'This is my best course of action at this particular moment,'" Albuquerque Police Officer Tanner Tixier told KOAT.

Duncan is facing auto theft and forgery charges in as many as seven auto thefts, according to an Albuquerque Journal report.

Now, let's take a look at a case involving a health club in Mississippi.

Earlier this month, two men tricked a front desk worker at Starke Fitness in Gluckstadt, Mississippi, and got away with $80 from the front desk, according to a Madison County Journal report.

Their con? Posing as FBI agents.

The duo allegedly showed up to Starke Fitness wearing FBI shirts and caps, then started to evaluate the club's security systems, according to a WLBT report. The impostors then returned to the front desk and claimed they arranged payment for services with the club's manager. The front desk worker complied and the men got their money.

"It was more of a scam type deal than an actual robbery." Starke Fitness Owner Lee Sahler told WLBT.

Has someone tried to pull a scam similar to these cases at your club? How do you train your staff to recognize a true customer (or vendor) from a con artist? Share your experiences in the comments section below.

 

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